Monday, August 22, 2016

What You Seek is Seeking You.

You know that feeling you get when you’ve had a rough day and your best friend turns on your favorite song. You just look at her like how did you know?!?You know those moments you have with your mom after a breakup, when she turns on your favorite movie and pops some popcorn and throws some M&Ms on top. You sit on the couch together proudly saying every line and singing every song. You laugh till you cry and you lay on her chest, wrapped in her arms. That’s some good stuff! It’s in those moments that we feel so “real”. When you’re with your mom or your best friend you’re your truest self because they already know you (inside and out) and they love the real you.

As a little girl, I learned who I was and who I wanted to be by watching my mom. I imitated her every move. If mom was getting ready in her bath room I was right beside her brushing my hair and patiently waiting for her to put in my big bow. If we were at mass and she was praying with her hands together and eyes closed, I did the same thing. I practiced being my mom so that I could develop a sense of myself. I listened as she told stories, I learned how to treat others and how to expect them to treat me. I watched as she interacted with family and friends and I tried to duplicate the same relationships. As I got older, and strong willed, one thing kept me grounded; the standards my mother held herself to and the ones she held me to. I say it often, but I mean it deeply, I am who I am today because of my mother. 

I remember starting college and suddenly losing that sense of self. I no longer had my mother to imitate. All I had were the things I learned from her and the idea of who I wanted to be. I was no longer a high school student or a dancer. I was suddenly a college student, a sorority member, a worker, and a roommate. I was still a student, friend, aunt, sister, daughter… but I had lost my identity. For all of my life I was my mother’s daughter, but now I was my own person; out to take on the real world. Something that was constant was my identity in Christ, even though that seemed to change as well. 

My identity was that I was His daughter. I was loved, cherished, longed for, and redeemed.  So why was I so lost and unsure of myself? Well, maybe I was looking in all of the wrong places. I was searching for myself in my grades. I was looking to Taylor Swift’s music to bring me joy. I was having the time of my life with my sisters at socials and philanthropy events, but it was just something we all did. I’ve learned that while yes, you will find the surface of yourself through those things you will not find your truest self. The only thing that will open your heart to its purest depth is placing it at the foot of the cross and asking Him to guide it. 

It makes sense that the God who created you knows you pretty well! All of the desires turning in your heart well, He placed them there. All of your accomplishments He’s seen. Every challenge you’ve faced He’s walked with you. He knows every part of you… every single curve in your heart, every dislike, and every longing. If you want to go looking for yourself, look to Him. He can tell you everything you need to know. 

It’s scary leaving your comfort zone and losing your identity, but God knows who you really are and who you were made to be. If you give Him your heart He will lead it to the purpose filled life He designed for you! Trust in Him and let yourself go… let go of the person your friends’ want you to be… let go of the expectations your family has for you… please, please let go of what this world makes you. Let go of the you that you were never meant to be and go searching for the you He intended.

 “As a lover knows his beloved's heart, all the shapes and curves of her even in the dark. Oh, You have formed me in my inward parts and You know me.” –Audrey Assad

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Accept His Rose

Imagine you’re sitting on your couch wearing your favorite t-shirt, watching “The Notebook”, drinking your wine of choice, and dreaming of a love like Noah and Allie’s… And then suddenly, someone knocks on the front door. You reluctantly pause the movie and walk towards the door wondering who it could be. You open the door to find a young man holding a single rose. You’ve heard of him and you’ve talked to him a few times in your history class, but you had no idea he had such an interest in you. He hands the rose to you and asks to come in… and you say NO and CLOSE the door… in his FACE!!! Girl, what are you doing?!?!??!
You’ve denied that young man a chance to prove himself to you. You’ve shut him out of your heart before you even gave him the chance to get to know you, and you to know him.

Now, here is the thing with Jesus… He is that boy.

Every single day He comes and knocks on the door of our hearts. He stands there with a gentile smile, asking to come in and presenting us with a brilliant white rose. Some days, we open the door and invite Him to stay awhile. Laughing with Him and sharing in His goodness. Other days we close the door in His face. Yet when we close the door on Jesus, He doesn’t vow to never talk to us again or to ignore us… He comes back the following day with two roses! He doesn’t wish to withhold anything from us. He doesn’t deny us yesterday’s rose. We could close the door on Jesus every time He knocks… for months… years, even, but because He loves us so immensely and wants to share every rose He has to offer; He holds onto them. He makes a bouquet no man could ever imagine. He comes… relentlessly… and when we’ve finally decided our hearts need the fulfillment only He can give, He opens a vase big enough in our hearts to hold every rose we’ve denied.  

Jesus is a hopeless romantic who cannot dismiss His love for us. He cannot simply let us avoid Him and deny ourselves of pure, wholesome love. He pursues us. Every single day. He thinks of ways to brighten our day; like a flower growing out of a side-walk, or a baby’s laugh. He embraces us when we are hurting. He cheers us on as we set out into the world to accomplish big things. He longs for us. He desires a relationship with us.

When I think of Jesus on the cross, crying out: “I thirst!” (John 19:28) I don’t imagine He was thirsty for water. He was thirsting for us. Our yes to Him. He was in dire need to know and love each soul. He was not concerned that He was dying for our sins… He was concerned that we would never know the immense amount of love He longed to give us.

Imagine if you stopped denying the roses He offers you. What a beautiful life you would lead!
“Intense love does not measure, it just gives.” –Mother Teresa